There was a short period of time when Jeremy Healy was a hero of mine. Back in 1982, before I really knew what clothes were for, I was smitten by a pair of musical designer tramps called Haysi Fantayzee, featuring Jeremy ‘Jeremiah’ Healy and the lovely Kate Garner. I’d never seen donkey jackets look cool on anyone, even Michael Foot, so it was rather a surprise to see these two leaping around on Top of the Pops, strutting a ‘style’ that looked, for about thirty seconds, like it might catch on. Apart from hits like John Wayne Is Big Leggy and Shiny Shiny, they were famed for this scruffy appearance, their saucy utterings and their penchant for drawing designs on their clothes and footwear using silver and gold felt tip pens. Heroic! Continue reading
Archive for the Jeremy… Category
Third in a series of short tributes to well-known people called Jeremy
I’m always astonished when people tell me they’ve never heard of Jeremy Hardy. It’s hard to imagine life without his input.
I first came across this charming and astonishingly funny man during my lengthy stint as a regular Guardian reader in the 1990s. Aside from the fact that his turns of phrase, initially unexpected alongside his rather serious byline photo, made me chuckle rather a lot, what caught my attention was his politics. For many of us left-leaning folks, Britain in the 1990s was all about making the Labour party less leftie, so it was always particularly gratifying to find a socialist within the pages of the country’s best Labour-leaning paper.
It was also a shock to everyone when his column ceased in 2001, especially when the official reason was that it “wasn’t funny enough”. Continue reading
Second in a series of short tributes to well-known people called Jeremy
With the BBC’s Sherlock on our screens, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how great Jeremy Brett was, both in and out of the role. Brett was a truly fine actor and one of British television’s most recognisable faces, having put his sharp features and that extraordinary voice to devilish use as a variety of dastardly villains in some magnificent cult ITC series like The Protectors, The Baron and The Champions. Indeed, he was rarely off the TV as a character actor from the 1960s onwards.
Naturally, he is best remembered for his exquisite portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in Granada Television’s The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes between 1984 and 1994. To many, he was the definitive Holmes of his era. Certainly, for an ITV programme, it was practically unmissable and the programmes easily stand up as dramas today.
Brett was, of course, one of those British actors – the type who would automatically be linked with what I call the holy trinity of British acting roles: Sherlock, James Bond and Doctor Who. Continue reading
First in a series of short tributes to well-known people called Jeremy
Why do I love Jeremy Paxman? Let me count the ways.
He’s fiercely intelligent. He’s fiercely articulate. He’s fiercely bad tempered at times. He presents two of my favourite programmes, Newsnight and University Challenge. On the former, he’s the scourge of most politicians and spokespeople for (self) interest groups, which always makes for delightful viewing; on the latter, where he is currently the longest-serving quiz master on British television, he’s a bit more respectful to the students, but tends to become impatient when waiting for an answer: “Come ON!”
He was the subject of one of the best editions of BBC2’s Who Do You Think You Are?, in which he discovered his maternal great-great grandfather was a Scot, serviceman John McKay, who married Mary Nicholas in Glasgow. Jeremy’s investigations revealed that John died in 1894, leaving Mary a widow with nine children. As she didn’t receive his army pension, and had no other means to support her family, she was forced to seek poor relief – but her application was rejected following an anonymous letter telling the authorities she had an illegitimate child. Upon discovering this, Jeremy was speechless with rage. When he later visited the abandoned tenement where she brought up her children in squalor, he was reduced to tears.
But my favourite Paxman moments were always on Newsnight. He famously pressed former Home Secretary Michael Howard for a single answer a total of twelves times within a three-minute period in 1997 – and as a lifelong ‘fan’ of Michael Howard, I never tire of watching that. Then, in 2005, he reacted in typically disdainful fashion when the programme’s producers decided to swap a closing round-up of financial news for a brief weather forecast. The results, seen below from Have I Got News For You, were little short of hilarious. The weather reports were ended after the first week, as Paxman himself explains here.